National Civil Rights Museum Hosts its 5th Ruby Bridges Reading Festival

Civil rights activist and philanthropist Ruby Bridges to greet and read to children

Memphis, Tennessee, UNITED STATES

Memphis, TN, Aug. 22, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum is proud to partner with civil rights and literacy advocate Ruby Bridges for the third year to host the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival on Saturday, August 27, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The free festival celebrates Bridges’ legacy of advocating for equal rights, literacy, and tolerance by bringing together families across racial, economic, and educational backgrounds through reading.

At six years old, Ruby Bridges was the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960 when her parents responded to a request by the NAACP to help integrate the New Orleans school system. Since then, Bridges has made it her mission to highlight the importance of literacy, inclusion, and promoting understanding of all people despite differences. After receiving the Museum’s 2015 Freedom Award, Bridges wanted to help promote literacy in Memphis by implementing the festival.

Over 10,000 children’s books are typically given away during the event. Children pre-K through elementary school not only receive free books at the festival but can also enjoy storytelling and entertainment.

The event will feature fun activities including music, balloon art, magic shows, craft activities, and storytelling by children’s book authors. Guest readers include:

  • Civil rights icon Ruby Bridges, author of children’s books Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges Goes to SchoolThis Is Your Time, This Is My Story, and her September 2022 release, I Am Ruby Bridges
  • Civil rights icon Joan Trumpauer Mulholland who authored She Stood for Freedom.
  • Nikkolas Smith, children’s book illustrator of I Am Ruby Bridges
  • Children’s book author, Nancy Churnin who wrote Martin and Anne, Beautiful Shades of Brown, and Charlie Takes His Shot
  • Children’s book author Michael Waters and his daughter Liberty Waters who is the subject of Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip.

The event is sponsored by Ruby Bridges Foundation, International Paper, Scholastic, Georgia Pacific Memphis Cellulose, Toyota Bodine, Wells Fargo, Dollar General Literacy Foundation, and the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The festival also resumes its annual season in May 2023. The event is designed to engage the community in ways to make reading fun. The format is picnic-style on the grounds of the museum’s Founders Park and courtyard, rain or shine. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets. In case of rain, the festival will take place inside the museum’s boarding house. For more information visit

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. Serving as the new public square, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement, examine today’s global civil and human rights issues, provoke thoughtful debate, and serve as a catalyst for positive social change. 

A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.